HC Deb 12 June 1969 vol 784 cc1863-94
Mr. Bruce Campbell (Oldham, West)

I beg to move Amendment No. 23, in page 1, line 7, after first 'marriage', insert 'solemnised after that date'.

The Amendment will prevent the Bill from having retrospective effect. As it stands, the law of divorce would be altered from the date of commencement of the Bill and would therefore affect every married person, even if he were married 20, 30, 40, or 50 years ago. Most of us deplore retrospective legislation, except in the rare cases where it is only for the citizen's benefit. In this case, that cannot be said. Many people may be adversely affected by the Bill who were married long before the Bill was thought of, and they should be protected.

The aspect of the Bill which those who oppose it oppose most strongly is that it introduces into our law for the first time compulsory divorce, which should not be imposed upon people who got married when there was no such thing.

1.45 a.m.

If Parliament passes this Bill the law of this land in future will be that a husband can desert his wife, abandon his children, and, five years later, force a divorce upon his spouse; and a wife will be able so to treat her husband and children. If people, onwards from the date on which this Bill is passed, get married understanding that to be the law—well and good; they get married knowing the risks which they incur. When a young girl accepts the proposal of her fiance she will know that when she is married and has become saddled with two or three children her husband can leave her, and go off with another woman, and force a divorce upon her, although she has done nothing wrong. If she gets married knowing that, then perhaps she will not be able to complain. At least, she will have gone into marriage with her eyes open. Likewise, when a man gets married in future he will know that, though he spends his earnings on providing a home for his wife and their children, the law will permit his wife at any time to go off, leave him, and, a few years later, force a divorce upon him. But at least from the date this Bill is passed he will know, and can go into marriage with his eyes open.

I am concerned about the people who are already married, and were married 10, 20 or 30 years ago perhaps, and were married when the law of this land regarded marriage as a solemn institution, dissoluble only when one party or the other behaved in such a way as to make it impossible for the marriage to continue. Now that is not to be the law any longer, and I want to protect those people who entered into marriage believing it to be a lifelong institution for them, unless they themselves committed a grievous wrong.

If the law is to be changed, let it be changed, by all means, for the future for people who enter into marriage knowing that the law has been changed and knowing what they are taking on, but it would be, in my submission, utterly wrong for this House to impose, upon people who entered into a contract years ago, in the belief that the law gave them protection, a law which no longer gives them such protection.

A lot has been said in this House at various times about retrospective legislation. Sometimes, I know, retrospective legislation can be excused, but in this case it cannot. How can we possibly justify a situation where a husband who has left his wife, who has done no wrong, can divorce her against her will, depriving her not only of the status of wife, but also of her right to widow's pension, also her right to live in the matrimonial home, also her right to a reasonable share of the family income? How can Parliament put a wife into that position, when she entered into marriage believing the law of the land to be such that she could never be deprived of those rights?

I do not know what is to happen to marriage in the future. I begin to think it an institution hardly worth bothering with in future, but people who are already married entered into marriage when it was an institution which they regarded as a serious one and a solemn one, and for them it would be utterly wrong, in my submission, to alter the law retrospectively so as to affect them adversely.

I confine myself to this point of retrospective legislation. We ought not to legislate in such a way as adversely to affect people who entered into contracts without any realisation that the law would be changed to their disadvantage.

Dr. Hugh Gray (Yarmouth)

The hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) in his usually lucid way has spelled out very clearly the purpose of the Amendment. It is to deprive the most deserving people of the possibility of getting a divorce. The new legislation lays down irretrievable breakdown of marriage as the basic reason for a divorce, with certain guidelines indicating when it has happened. The hon. and learned Member mentioned people who had been married for 30, 40 and 50 years and who had been separated for the whole of that time.

Mr. Bruce Campbell

I did not say that.

Dr. Gray

I understood the hon. and learned Member to say that many people had been married for that length of time and that their marriages had irretrievably broken down.

Mr. Bruce Campbell

I referred to people who had been married 10, 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years ago, but I said nothing about their marriages having broken down. My complaint is that this Measure applies to people who have been married all that time and whose marriages have not broken down. They may break down in future. But the point is that they married when the law was quite different from that proposed in the Bill.

Dr. Gray

But if the marriages have not broken down, then even if the couples have been married for all that time, perhaps for 50 years, under the new legislation they will have to be separated for five years before a divorce can be demanded.

The hon. and learned Member complained of this as retrospective legislation. It will come to the aid of those whose marriages have been broken down for 10, 30, 40 and even 50 years and who have been forced for the whole of that time to live, perhaps with another life partner, with whom they have lived as married couples, building up a family, without the possibility of legitimising the new situation. The Amendment would remove that possibility from this category of people who, I suggest, are the most deserving of aid. I hope that it will be rejected by as large a majority as that which rejected the last Amendment.

Mr. Richard Wood (Bridlington)

We have to face the fact that the effect of the Amendment moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) would be to create one divorce law for marriages which were contracted in the first seven decades of this century and another for those contracted in the 1970s and thereafter. I assume that there are not many marriages in existence—there may be some—which were contracted in the 19th century. I make the even stronger assumption that a husband and wife who entered into marriage in the 1880s or 1890s will not now be petitioning for divorce either under the present law or under the proposed new provisions.

On the other hand, in the view of some of us, the sponsors of the Bill are proposing one divorce law for the rich and another for the not-so-rich, and I assume that they will not look with favour on the Amendment. They will no doubt tell us in shocked tones that it would be intolerable for marriages contracted after 1969 or 1970 to be subject to one law while those contracted earlier were subject to another law.

However, if they are honest—I have every reason to believe that they are—they will admit that the difference between the present law and the new one will be much less than a great many hon. Members imagine. For example, if a husband in the 1970s or subsequently commits adultery, beats his wife or deserts her, she will be able to petition for divorce, whether the marriage was contracted before or after the passage of the Bill, in exactly the same way as she can now.

For existing marriages, such wives would have to prove, not that the marriage had irretrievably broken down, but that the husband had committed some recognised matrimonial offence. But as the proof of marriage breakdown in any of these three cases is still to be the commission of the present matrimonial offence, it seems that this will make little recognisable difference.

The first difference it will make is that husbands and wives who got married before the passage of the Bill will not openly be able to agree together that their marriages should be brought to an end. This is the first proposal of change that the Bill makes. I doubt whether this, in itself, will constitute any real hardship.

No doubt the hon. Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Alec Jones) will point out that some husbands and wives would be driven into the subterfuge of arranged adultery or bogus cruelty, but it seems more likely that most husbands and wives who might otherwise plan to take advantage of Clause 2(1)(d) would, instead, agree to live apart for three years, at the end of which one of them, under the provisions which exist now, would be able to divorce the other.

In any event, there would be no question of the slightest breach of faith, because couples who marry under the existing law do so on the understanding that their marriages could be brought to an end only if one commits an offence of such gravity as to justify the other partner in asking for the marriage to be dissolved.

This principle of the understood basis of existing marriages is obviously the more important in relation to the final proposal in Clause 2, which would make it possible for a marriage contracted under one set of rules to be set aside under another set of rules which are wholly different.

We can all think of examples of where Parliament has changed the rules in the middle of the game and where the effect has been to destroy the bona fide arrangements which were made between two or more people on the basis of the law that existed when the arrangements were made. For example, in the sphere of taxation the Chancellor of the Exchequer can, and frequently does, change the law with the effect that many men and women are employed a good deal less profitably than they might have been in modifying their previous arrangements to fit in with the Chancellor's new rules.

But when the Chancellor's proposals, or the proposals of any Minister or private hon. Member, have a retrospective effect, there is generally a loud protest, not only in Parliament but elsewhere, and not confined to the political opponents of the Minister or hon. Member involved, for restrospective legislation has very few friends indeed. However much we may dislike—and some of us do very much—the provisions of Clause 2(1)(e), it is in its retrospective effect that this part of the Bill is most offensive.

2.0 a.m.

If that proposal in the Bill were, as the Amendment would make it, that anyone married after the Bill becomes law would be married on the basis that the marriage could be brought to an end against the will of one partner, the hundreds of thousands of couples who are married at present would know exactly where they stand. They would know that they had married before the Bill became law, on the understanding that so long as they behaved themselves and did not ask for dissolution, only death could bring the marriage to an end. On the other hand, couples who marry subsequently would marry on a new basis and would also know where they were.

Therefore, although I find the whole principle of compulsory divorce not only undesirable but very dangerous, at least acceptance of the Amendment would absolve the sponsors from the charge that they had destroyed the basis and that a man and woman who honestly understood that they were married felt cheated of the security to which I believe they have every right.

Mr. John Lee (Reading)

An one who has many reservations about this Bill, I think the hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) has allowed his enthusiasm to run away with him in this instance. If he seriously reflects on what would happen if this Amendment were carried he will see that it would be as much a wrecking exercise as one could imagine.

The right hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) was quite right in pointing out that much of the provisions as to ideas of breakdown of marriage defined in the Bill, except for Clause 2(1)(e) are a restatement in modern and more simple terms of existing law. Therefore, if we were to introduce this provision it would be a nonsense in one sense and a superfluous nonsense. I find myself in some agreement with the provision, however, and I only wish that instead of putting the Amendment to line 7 on page 1 the hon. and learned Member had proposed a similar Amendment to the first line on page 2. This would have the effect of protecting the participants of existing marriages from having this concept of unilateral repudiation thrust upon them unsolicited and in circumstances in which they could never have contemplated anything of the kind was likely to come into existence.

Mr. Bruce Campbell

All I am asking is that the provisions of the Bill should apply only to marriages taking place after the commencement of the Act. The existing law would still apply to marriages which have already taken place. I agree with the hon. Member that as far as concerns (a), (b) and (c) there is very little change. Those people can still get divorce under existing law. It is against (e) that my Amendment is aimed.

Mr. Lee

I gathered that from the tenor of the speech of the hon. and learned Member, but it would have been more satisfactory if he had framed his Amendment in a way directed specifically and unambiguously at the most contentious part of the Bill, the part because of which I shall not find myself in the Aye Lobby on Third Reading. I take issue with the hon. and learned Member over paragraph (d). It is a thousand pities that this provision has not found its way into a separate Bill. This is the good part of the Bill because it would have the effect of reducing the amount of perjury which takes place in the divorce courts as well as involving a great deal of hypocrisy. One of the reasons why I was unable to vote either way on Second Reading was my conflict of applauding Clause 2(1)(d), on the one hand, and deploring Clause 2(1)(e), on the other.

Mr. Bruce Campbell

A Bill has been introduced which simply adds an extra ground, namely, divorce by consent after a period of separation, to the existing grounds for divorce.

Mr. Lee

I am pleased to hear that. Such a Bill will have my support and, no doubt, the support of the hon. and learned Gentleman. All the strictures passed by the right hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) on Clause 2(1)(e) need to be reinforced. The paragraph introduces the principle of unilateral repudiation of contract. It stipulates far too short a period of separation—five years, compared with the seven years before death can be presumed under probate law. It is a great pity that this Amendment is not in such a form as would apply to that paragraph. For that reason, although I am unable to support the Amendment I shall be unable to vote against it.

Mr. Walter Clegg (North Fylde)

I oppose the Amendment. My arguments are somewhat similar to those which have been deployed by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. John Lee). The Amendment is inspired by a dislike, which I share, of Clause 2(1)(e). My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) is trying to make the Bill better from his point of view. There is a chance that the Bill will become law, and it would be madness to amend it in a way which would lead to complication because of a dislike of Clause 2(1)(e). If there are to be different bases for divorce—one before the Bill and one after the Bill—the procedure would be very complicated. I am one of those practising in this field who want to see the procedure simplified rather than complicated.

I do not think that it is valid to say that the present law should apply to marriages already subsisting and that the provisions of the Bill should govern marriages solemnised subsequent to its coming into operation. Times change. Manners change. People's outlook changes towards all sorts of relationships. I do not see why this principle should not be applied to marriage, as to many other propositions.

I was almost moved to vote for the Amendment by the attitude of the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Dr. Gray). He approached the matter with passion. I am getting a little tired tonight of one or two hon. Members who, because they support Clause 2(1)(e), take the view that people who oppose it are not equally compassionate and concerned.

Dr. Gray

The hon. Gentleman does me an injustice. I entirely respect other people's values, their compassion, and their passion. I do not suggest that I have anything to offer that every other hon. Member cannot offer.

Mr. Clegg

I am pleased to hear that. That was not the impression I had when the hon. Gentleman was speaking. It is true that hardships are suffered by people who have left their partners and gone to live with other people. At least they went with their eyes open knowing what the consequences would be. People who got married had no choice as to the terms under which they got married and the law as it then was. I would be more content with the hon. Gentleman's views if I were more satisfied about the financial arrangements which are to be made, but until we get another Bill we shall not know what they are. Whilst, however, I am discontented with Clause 2(1)(e), I do not consider that a sufficient reason for arguing that we should have two bases for divorce.

Mr. Quintin Hogg (St. Marylebone)

I am no great enthusiast for the Bill, as those who heard my speech on Second Reading when it was proposed in the last Session will realise. I also have considerable reservations about Clause 2(1)(e), which has given rise to a great deal of discussion. I think, however, that the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campell) is wrong in principle.

Marriage is a contract giving rise to status. All laws about the dissolution of marriage are laws about the status and not about the contract. What is absolutely intolerable is for a State to introduce a law about the status which creates not one status, but two or three statuses. If all my hon. and learned Friend's Amendments had been passed, we would have had not two or three, but four or five, statuses, about which the state of the law would have been different in each case.

It is said by those who support the Amendment that the law as it is now proposed is retrospective. That is not strictly true. If we legislate about a status, it is true that we alter the character of the status every time we legislate it as from the moment the Act of Parliament is passed, but that does not necessarily make the law retrospective in its objectionable sense.

I seldom find myself in disagreement with my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood), but I am sorry to say that I am in disagreement with him at this point of the argument. Every piece of legislation about matrimonial status has been retrospective in the sense in which my right hon. Friend and my hon. and learned Friend object to it.

When the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1857, which was the first divorce law, was passed, it was true to say at that time that everybody who had been married before 1857 knew that they would be married unless a Private Act of Parliament was passed, whether they behaved themselves or not. Therefore, those spouses who committed adultery must have been very disappointed when the Act was passed.

Every man who was married before 1923, but not every woman married before 1923, knew that he had to be cruel as well as commit adultery before he could be divorced. Therefore, he must have been very disappointed if he committed adultery without beating his wife, because he would then be divorced on quite different terms from those on which he was married. Everybody who was married before 1937 knew that if he became incurably insane during the course of his marriage, he could not be divorced. Therefore, those who became incurably insane in the course of marriages contracted before 1937 must have been very disappointed when they found that their marriages were brought to an end.

It is inherent in the law of divorce that every time we pass a law about the status of marriage, it is in that sense retrospective. If, however, we consider the alternative, it is so ludicrous and so unacceptable that it seems to me to be impossible that anyone sould seriously suppose it.

If it is thought, as many of us think—and, clearly, those who support the Amendment all think—that there are objections to Clause 2(1)(e) for one reason or another, I, like my hon. Friend the Member for North Fylde (Mr. Clegg), am more concerned about the financial provisions than the status. If, however, it is thought that there is something intolerably objectionable about the idea of an innocent party being divorced, it must be objectionable whether or not the marriage was contracted in 1968 or 1971. It is no good my hon. and learned Friend saying, "Well and good. So be it. They know what they are in for", because, when we have altered the status, they cannot be in for anything else.

2.15 a.m.

Mr. Bruce Campbell

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that it is no use talking about status and saying that retrospective legislation is not so important when it affects status as when it affects contract when the alteration of the status depends upon the grounds for divorce? By altering the grounds for divorce, we give the courts power to alter the status.

Mr. Hogg

My hon. and learned Friend is not doing me justice. What I am saying is that it is inherent in the alteration of the law regarding dissolution of marriage that one gives the courts this power. Whenever we do it—and we have done it three times in my lifetime—we alter the character of the status. At no time till the present has anyone said that this is so intolerable because it is inherently retrospective that it should operate only from the date on which the Act commences, or in respect only of those marriages which are not contracted out, or in respect only of marriages contracted out after a certain date.

Either the status ought to be on certain terms, in which case one ought not to do it for anyone otherwise than in accordance with those terms, or it ought not, in which case one ought not to legislate so that it is. There is no greater expert on the law of divorce than my hon. and learned Friend. He spends all his time moving from the Divorce Registry to the Divorce Court, putting asunder those God has joined together. He does practically nothing else. The trouble is that he is so obsessed with divorce that he has not really thought through the institution of marriage.

What is intolerable is that we should have two kinds of marriage as a result of what we are doing tonight. I said earlier that I thought it was rotten to have to do this in the middle of the night, and all that has happened on the present Amendment has borne that out. But the Amendment is wrong in principle. No one can support it. That is what I wanted to say.

Mr. Simon Mahon (Bootle)

No one listens to the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) with more avid attention than I on most occasions, but I must say that I found his levity a little out of taste. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am used to my hon. Friend's groans, and I am quite prepared to take them. Anyone who has stood at the Mersey dock gates as often as I have knows that they amount to nothing at all.

I do not like double standards. I speak here—I hope that this does not evoke another groan—of the sacrament of marriage as well as of the contract of marriage, and I know that a lot of people in this country would agree with me. Let the supporters of the Bill, as we say in Liverpool, test the gear. That is an old-fashioned maritime phrase. Let them try the Bill, out, let them test the gear of this Clause before the British public. They will find that great numbers believe as the hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) believes. I remind the House that my brother and I strove valiantly to keep him out of the House, but tonight I am very pleased to agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman. He likes the double standard in marriage no more than I or anyone else. I hope to God there are no young people in the Gallery listening to the pessimism of the House tonight. They would do far better to go away and get married. It is no wonder that people these days take no notice of Parliament when they have to listen to that sort of thing on an important subject like marriage.

The hon. Member for North Fylde (Mr. Clegg) talked about attitudes and comparisons. He said that the world is changing, that habits, fashion and everything else are changing. What would he compare from the point of view of change with the status of a married woman? What had he in mind when he spoke about the changing status and the changing fashion?

I know nothing about law and nothing about divorce, but I know a good deal about marriage. I have lived in a working-class area all my life, and I did everything I could to keep marriages together by building homes and so on. What did the hon. Gentleman have in mind?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

Order. The hon. Gentleman is straying from the Amendment, which is concerned with the date.

Mr. Mahon

When one gets into an argument of this kind it appears to be a narrow Amendment, but it is quite important. I am trying to bring back some of the importance into it. My hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Dr. Gray), for whom I have the highest regard, talked about the most deserving people when he talked about the new Clause. Why are the most deserving people those who have had two bites at the cherry? Why should the woman left with a family give way—the woman who does not want to be divorced and who was married properly and thought at the time that it was for life? Why should she give way when the husband—and always it is a drunken husband; I wonder that it is not always a drunken Irishman—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is getting into a wider debate than the Amendment allows. It is really concerned with whether the Bill applies after the date of solemnisation of the marriage.

Mr. Mahon

There has been a change in the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Other hon. Members were allowed to go much wider than I am being allowed to go. I am only repeating what was allowed in the debate.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I can only allow what the Amendment allows.

Mr. John Hall

On a point of Order. In this respect the Amendment is very far-reaching. Although it changes the application of the Clause to those who are married before or after a certain date, it affects all the causes of divorce shown in the Bill. To be able to show the effect of this I think that one must be allowed to mention some examples of the kind the hon. Gentleman has given.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman must relate what he is saying to the Amendment.

Mr. Mahon

I am trying my best to do that. But I will not be out of order when I say that, retrospection or no retrospection, anything that happens in the Bill affects the most important people that come in any marriage—the children. That is why I tried to evoke so much sympathy. I know that there are all sorts of difficulties on all sides of marriage. It is not a perfect state; we are not living in a perfect world. These things must happen, and Parliament must do its best to offset the difficulties that arise from time to time.

The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone asked what financial provisions would be made if the Amendment was or was not carried. I asked for an answer earlier from the Government. We will leave thousands of children in a very difficult financial position.

Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)

How does my hon. Friend know?

Mr. Mahon

My hon. Friend asks how do I know. Once anyone disturbs a marriage the children are the first victims. The child is the product of the marriage and is entitled to the care and succour of both parents. It will not get this if this sort of thing pervades society. Someone asked: what will happen to marriage? Marriage in future will have more permutations than the football pools. Once we depart from the absolute standard, "till death us do part," we go on and on and we have to change the law continually to suit the fashions we have been talking about, because the fashions of tomorrow will not be the fashions of today.

Children need looking after. I am not evoking any response from my Front Bench, but this is not an unusual position for me to be in. They told the House, from the highest possible level, that they would make an announcement to clarify the financial position if certain things happened to the Bill. We have to make up our minds about this very serious, although small, Amendment. If we have irretrievable breakdown as the only ground, why should it not be retrospective, because we have to protect those who believed at the time that they were right, and who have the children to support.

Mr. Molloy

My hon. Friend mentioned his activities in a working-class area of Liverpool. Does he really believe that the ordinary young chap and girl in love go out courting with a contract tucked under their arm, and the law of the land with them, before they come to any arrangement to marry?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr Sydney Irving)

Order. The hon. Gentleman must address the Chair.

Mr. Molloy

My hon. Friend seems to assume that there already exist thousands of children belonging to families, who, the moment this Bill becomes law, will seek divorces. It is possible that such homes at this moment, with such children, are not particularly happy ones.

Mr. Mahon

I am an authority on the boys and girls in Liverpool. We all have our ideas about what marriage is for and most of them get married in the proper way, in a rather old-fashioned way, and, thank God, they court in an old-fashioned way as well. [Interruption.] Does my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) wish to intervene? The hon. Member for Pontypool refused to give way and maybe I should follow his example. I was trying to give way, but by doing so I have lost my trend of thought. I am doing my best to point out that my sympathies are with the people who have been married before, and this Bill will affect them tremendously. If we do not get retrospection thousands of people will be divorced under the new legislation and it will affect thousands of children.

2.30 a.m.

I have a good idea that we may feel rather ashamed of ourselves within 12 months of passing the Bill, just as we are ashamed of ourselves over the Abortion Act. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is what I feel. Hon. Members can make their own speeches. We do not like a double standard but the Amendment is at least trying to protect some people from the vicissitudes of the whole issue. We shall have to go on doing this in the years to come until fashions change.

If we refuse to give these people protection, what will happen to the nation? If we do not do this to protect at least some of the people, nice people who have made an honest contract, from the effects of the Bill, what will happen to our country? We talk of the individual but what is to happen to the country? Britain was strong because it had strong family life. As we weaken family life, so we will weaken the country—and we shall regret it.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)

I support the Amendment, although I can see the arguments against it. It is difficult to make up one's mind on this issue because we are still waiting for the results of the undertaking given by the noble Lord the Lord Chancellor to the sponsors of the Bill in a letter when it was going through Committee. We still do not know what he intends to do to provide for all the difficult cases which are going to arise.

I am convinced from my correspondence that, throughout the country, many thousands of men and women, particularly women, are in a state of anxiety as to what their position may be if the Bill becomes law and it is tremendously important from the point of view of humanity to have a statement from the Lord Chancellor, through a Minister here, to help us make up our minds on this Amendment.

The Lord Chancellor is a very distinguished lawyer and it is not right that he should have intervened in the Committee stage of the Bill in this House, by letter, and that we should still, when we have reached Report stage, be ignorant about what he is going to do. I am astounded and horrified and the Amendment gives us the opportunity to ask the sponsors of the Bill or the legal luminaries of the Government what they intend to do. It is alarming for the British constitution if we can have an intervention by letter by the Lord Chancellor during the Committee stage of a Bill in this House and still have no indication when it reaches Report stage as to how he is going to implement his pledge.

It is important to pass the Amendment. If we then receive a satisfactory assurance from the Lord Chancellor to give relief in the many difficult cases to which reference has been made in this debate, then to meet the difficulty of a double standard it would be possible to introduce a Ten Minute Rule Bill, or something of that nature, to get back to a single standard. We should then have some knowledge of the sort of protection to be given to people involved.

It is intolerable that we should discuss this Amendment without any intervention by the Lord Chancellor or by those who presumably are interested in passing a Bill which is fair and legally sound. I do not like a situation in which the House knows nothing more than that such a pledge is supposed to have been given.

Although I appreciate that there are arguments for and against the Amendment, I am certain that when the general public get to hear of this debate there will be many anxious hearts. The majority of people will say that they are surprised that the House should allow this Bill to go through on Report without the House being informed of the Lord Chancellor's intentions. I believe that the Lord Chancellor has behaved abominably in this matter. Therefore I support the Amendment.

Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)

The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) was right to say that this Amendment is totally impossible. I would go one stage further and say that I am sure the hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) must know that it is totally impossible.

Mr. Bruce Campbell

Is the hon. Member really suggesting that I have moved what I believe to be an impossible Amendment?

Mr. Richard

I am always reluctant to delve into the motives of those who make speeches in this House, but the hon. and learned Member is a distinguished practitioner in the divorce courts. Indeed, on one or two occasions I have had the privilege of appearing in cases against him. He must know that this is not retrospective legislation. He must also know that it would be totally unreasonable to create two different types of marriage. As the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone said, any piece of legislation affecting the status of marriage has always been retrospective.

It seems to me that the hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West and my hon. Friend the Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon) supported the Amendment on different grounds, both of which were equally fallacious. The hon. and learned Gentleman took an excessively contractual view of marriage. He said that he did not like the Bill, but that if it was made retrospective, in the sense in which he used the word, those who hereafter marry will go into it with their eyes open and will know what they are doing. When they go to the altar and vows are exchanged they will know that they are not getting as good a marriage as they would have got if the Bill had not been passed.

People do not just get married with that in mind. I do not know of any couple who, before they entered into marriage, sat down quite solemnly and coldly and said to themselves, "What are the precise contractual obligations we are undertaking by getting married?" What usually happens is that a man and woman meet, they fall in love with each other, they decide that they want to live together and produce children and bring up those children together, and they obviously hope, when they get married, that that marriage will subsist for the rest of their lives.

The whole concept that by including a date upon which the Bill should take effect, thereby making the provisions of marriage pre the Bill different from marriage post the Bill, will have any effect on the number of marriages or thereby increase the sanctity of marriages that have taken place is a fallacy. It is as much a fallacy as the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Bootle, because underlying everything that he said is the concept that the tighter the law on divorce and the more difficult it is for people to get divorced, the stronger the marriage, the better the children are treated, and the less matrimonial offences are committed. My hon. Friend suggested that if only the law were tight enough, the marriage bond itself would be tighter. I challenge that assumption.

In countries where there are tight divorce laws, by definition there are not many divorces. In Italy, for example, where I believe that until recently it was impossible to get a divorce under Italian law, there are fewer divorces than in England. I would, however, question the next stage of my hon. Friend's argument, which is that the marriage bond—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must speak to the Amendment, which is concerned with a certain date.

Mr. Richard

It is difficult to answer my hon. Friend's argument without trying to answer this point. This was the argument put forward by my hon. Friend in favour of the Amendment. Therefore, I trust that I may be allowed to answer the same point.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that I sought to bring his hon. Friend to order on more than one occasion. I am afraid that I cannot allow the hon. Gentleman to go out of order.

Mr. Richard

Perhaps I may put it this way. The object of the Amendment is to protect those who are already married from the evils of the Bill, should it be passed. Underlying that Amendment, therefore, must be the assumption that if the Bill is passed the sanctity of marriage is thereby weakened, and underlying that must be the assumption that the tighter the divorce laws the stronger the marriage bond. My point is that there is no evidence whatever that in countries—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is pursuing a line which I indicated was out of order.

Mr. Richard

I hoped that by the time I had explained how it was in order I might have convinced you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that it was in order. It seems impossible to argue the Amendment. The whole basis of the Amendment must be the assumption that if the divorce laws are tight the sanctity of marriage is thereby strengthened. That can only be the purpose of the Amendment and I must be entitled to question that assumption.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The Amendment is concerned with whether the Bill will apply to marriages solemnised after a certain date; not to other matters.

Mr. Richard

I will do my best to keep within the bounds of order. If an Amendment is proposed this evening on the lines of that proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman, namely, that two different laws shall apply to marriages, depending whether they were solemnised before or after the passing of the Bill, in that situation the assumption cannot be made that because the law is tighter the marriage is stronger.

I conclude by asking my hon. Friend to examine not merely the divorce statistics—which I know he does because he takes a deep interest in these matters—but the separation statistics, the delinquency figures, the figures for the number of children who are abandoned, at what age, and for what reason, and how children are looked after in countries where the divorce laws are very much tighter than even under the somewhat restrictive proposals of the hon. and learned Gentleman.

2.45 a.m.

Mr. John Hall

I stayed on in the House after 10 o'clock tonight really with the intention of taking part in the debate on the Motion, which was brought to an abrupt end by the Chief Whip. I was interested mostly in the principle involved in the Government's action in taking the steps they did to make it possible for us to debate this Bill at this hour of the morning.

I had not intended to do more than listen to the remainder of the debate, until I heard the Amendment proposed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell). I gathered from the speeches which followed that it was not receiving much popular support. When I heard the extremely rumbustious speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) I was almost stung to my feet in its defence. I need not have bothered, because the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon) made an adequate defence of the Amendment in a rather moving speech.

I wish I could have gone on to say that I should be prepared to support the Amendment. I yield to no one in my dislike of what is called retrospective legislation, although that has generally been confined to legislation in the financial field. I agree, even if reluctantly, with the speeches which have been made pointing out that this is not really retrospective legislation in the proper sense. If it were, it would apply to all other Acts which have been passed affecting divorce and matters of that kind, and therefore I find it difficult to support the Amendment, for that reason.

I sympathise with the motive behind the Amendment. Looking at the Clause—which I did for almost the first time today when my attention was directed to it—I am struck by the fact that the first part of it up to paragraph (e), does not seem to be any different from the law as it stands, with the one exception that the period for desertion is reduced from three years to two.

The paragraph which I dislike intensely, and the one which appears to have attracted the dislike of the majority of hon. Members, is paragraph (e). This is a new element in our divorce law, and I do not think that we should be under any misapprehension about this. It changes the whole basis of married life. We are doing something which will have the most far-reaching consequences. I am not saying whether they are good or bad, but they are far-reaching.

I turned up an article written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Primate with whose words I do not always agree. In the Sunday Times as long ago as February of last year, in an article headed: My doubts about the Divorce Bill", he said about paragraph (e): But for many people—and this I know from a flow of letters received ever since the proposal was included in Mr. Abse's Bill in 1963—the clause which brings the fear of greatest hardship and injustice is that which provides for divorce after five years' seperation, even against the wishes of a faithful partner. It can be argued that it is an act of charity to allow a partner, who no longer loves one, to be free to marry a new partner…. But under the new proposal the initiative can be taken by the unfaithful spouse. This, in itself, could make intervention in a marriage more attractive to an adventurer or adventuress. I think that is perfectly true. I would find it more difficult to oppose the Bill if this provision were not in it, but I certainly find it difficult to support the Bill with this provision.

Although I understand the purpose of my hon. and learned Friend's Amendment, I do not think it is possible to have two laws existing, one covering people who were married before the passing of this Measure, and the other applying to people who were married after. It is neither logical nor desirable. Even if it is a bad law, it must apply to everybody. I would prefer that we did not have it at all, but if it is to be on the Statute Book it must apply to everybody. In fiscal legislation different circumstances apply to different taxpayers depending on the dates on which they arranged their financial affairs, but in the field of social affairs I do not think this is "on".

Therefore, much as I regret it, I shall find myself unable to support this Amendment in the Division Lobby, although I have every sympathy with its purpose.

Mr. Alec Jones

Some hon. Members have raised issues which will be discussed at some length on future Amendments. We have to concern ourselves with Amendment No. 23 which relates specifically to the date of the marriage.

One of the effects of this Amendment would be to limit the new ground on which a petition for divorce could be presented to the court—namely, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage—to those marriages which were solemnised after the commencement of the Act. If that were all, that in itself would be some reason for rejecting it, as has been said by many hon. Members. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) has left the Chamber. He suggested that the grounds for divorce based on the matrimonial offence would still be available to those who are married at the moment. But under the Bill and the Amendment as it is worded, this is not so. In Schedule 2 we are proposing to repeal the whole of Section 1 of the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1965, which would mean that there could be no divorce at all under any circumstances for those who are married at the moment, unless some—

Mr. Bruce Campbell

Is the hon. Gentleman seriously opposing the Amendment on the basis of some slight drafting difficulty?

Mr. Jones

I am not opposing it only on that ground. I consider this to be a very serious drafting error, which would leave us with no ground at all for divorce. This is one of the reasons why we oppose this Amendment. We believe it to be wrong that the ground upon which a marriage is to be ended should be determined by the date on which the marriage was solemnised. We as sponsors of the Bill are concerned with the viability of the marriage itself, and not the date upon which the marriage took place.

Reference has been made to the effect of this Amendment on young people. It seems strange to think that young people should have to study the terms of the current divorce laws before deciding about their marriage. I never studied the Matrimonial Causes Act, 1965, or any other Matrimonial Causes Act before I got married. In fact, I doubt whether I knew that such Acts existed. If Parliament considers, as we hope it will, that irretrievable breakdown is a proper basis for dissolution of a marriage, as a matter of public policy this should apply to all marriages and not only to those entered into after a certain date.

I enjoyed the speech of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg), and I was pleased that he referred to the precedent of the 1857 Act, which introduced divorce in the modern setting—and certainly not only for marriages entered into after the date of the coming into force of the Act. We heard a great deal about precedent earlier tonight, between ten and one o'clock—

Mr. Martin Maddan (Hove)

So much following my right hon. and learned Friend's speech has been utterly erroneous. The three examples he quoted in no case gave the right to the guilty party to initiate proceedings. There is no comparison: lawyer after lawyer has fallen into the same trap.

Mr. Jones

Those who are sponsoring the Bill do not believe necessarily in the concept of complete innocence or guilt. We are more concerned with examining the viability of a marriage than with assessing blame. It would be a brave man or woman who could claim to have been completely innocent for the whole of his married life. I certainly could not do so.

Mr. Simon Mahon

No one wants to be over-bold about guilt or innocence. Most of us are prone to this sort of thing for the whole of our lives. But there are innocent people and guilty people: truthful people and people who tell lies. If that is not going to be the basis of our law, we should get rid of our law—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Let us get back to the question of the date.

Mr. Jones

I should have been happier if you had called us to order before the question had been asked, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The pressure for divorce reform comes not merely from those who are not yet married, but from those who are already married. I do not believe that public opinion would stand for a provision which did not alleviate the plight of those, already married, whose marriages have irretrievably broken down in accordance with the Bill. We should be ignoring all the misery associated with such breakdowns if we held that concept.

I was very grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Dr. Gray), who drew our attention to the problem of those who have been married, in name, for a long time and separated from their respectve partners for a long time, whose marriages have brought nothing but misery and hardship to the parties. These are the people whom we wish to help. I hope that the House will reject the Amendment.

Mr. Maddan

I am very glad to be able to enlarge on the point which I made in my intervention. It is astonishing to me, whatever the basic merits of the case, that hon. and learned Members sought to refute the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) with such extraordinarily flimsy alleged analogies from the past. I am not a lawyer, but on this occasion I am a member of the jury, and, as a juryman, I will give my vote to the case deployed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West. Every speech which I have heard—for or against the Amendment—leads me to believe that that is right. They have all, more and more, convinced me.

3.0 a.m.

One of the things which seems to have been entirely forgotten and omitted from consideration by hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Alec Jones), the promoter of the Bill, when they have spoken about the spirit and the way in which people enter into marriage, is that those who have already entered into marriage—and I mention them particularly because I must keep within the terms of the Amendment—fell in love, felt they would like to have some children, and said, "Let's get married", but not irresponsibly. I have fallen in love with many; I often thought it would be nice to have a little family and set up home with them; but I did not marry them because I considered the matter as a lifelong partnership with a lifelong responsibility of fatherhood and I decided it would not be a wise course. We are told by the supporters of the Bill and the opponents of the Amendment that people do not have that sort of consideration in their minds when they enter into marriage. I think they underrate the integrity and the sense of understanding of the importance of marriage among those people who have entered into marriages.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Member is going wide of the Amendment, which is to exempt from the Bill marriages before the date of passing of the Bill.

Mr. Maddan

Yes. I was saying that in a large number of cases parties to marriages up to date entered into those marriages far, far more seriously than has been implied. They were not just romantic love marriages as implied by the opponents of the Amendment. We must not allow ourselves to be swept away on a sort of romantic magic carpet or by Hollywood standards.

My hon. Friend the Member for Tyne-mouth (Dame Irene Ward) referred to the increasing apprehension among people, particularly those already married, about the effects of this Bill. It may interest hon. Members to know that in the last few weeks I have received representations from over 300—I think it is getting on for 400—of my constituents against this Bill—in the last few weeks alone. Therefore, we must take it that there is very strong apprehension on the part of those whose marriages may be prejudiced by the passage of this Bill in its present form.

It may be said, "Well, if they are rocky marriages, is it worth preserving them?" That goes to the crux of the whole matter. If there is determination to maintain a marriage then it can be maintained through thick and thin—and there will be thick and thin, but if it is thought, "Well, it can easily be got out of" a wholly different attitude may begin to develop. It may after the passage of this Bill, begin to develop in the heart and mind of one partner gravely to the prejudice of the other, who, through no fault whatsoever of his or her own may find himself or herself divorced, and the children fatherless or motherless.

One hon. Member—I think it was the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse)—spoke about "new" fathers—as though one were discussing moving to a new house, or having a new dog or a new motor car or something of that sort. I was appalled at that reasoning from an hon. Member who is interested in psychology and sociology. Without any reservations I shall go into the Lobby in support of the Amendment.

Mr. Edwin Brooks (Bebington)

The remarks of the hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan) indicate clearly that in discussing the Amendment we are inevitably debating a number of separate but interlocked matters.

It is clear that the motives—which are quite understandable—of those who support the Amendment are based upon strong and irrevocable opposition to the proposals of Clause 2(1)(e). I understand the apprehensions which are felt, not least because of the ambiguity which still exists, and which I certainly regret, over the future, long-term financial provisions for those who might be affected by the proposals. But a private Member is not in a position to dictate to the Government the timing of legislation other than that to which he is himself committed, and it would be wrong to imply that it is in any way the fault of the sponsors of the Bill that as yet we have not the more precise information which we all feel is sadly lacking.

But we are discussing more specifically the question raised by the Amendment whether it is desirable to have a two-tier system, one applying to those who married before 1969 or 1970 and one applying to those who married afterwards. It is not necessarily wrong to consider the possibility of such a two-tier system. It would not automatically be wrong to have one. But such a system is bound to create many difficulties, some of which we can foresee and which have been described and some of which at this stage it is difficult to foresee.

In general, on balance, it seems to me advisable to avoid that added complexity. The right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) pointed to the inevitable complexity of the various status symbols which would be connected to marriage in the years ahead if we embarked on a proliferation of this type of refinement. On that score it would be unwise for the House to accept the Amendment.

A further point is involved. To some extent we have confused ourselves with the term "retrospective legislation". I have been following the debate closely, and I have heard on occasions one and the same hon. Member first say that the Clause was and then say that it was not retrospective legislation. Arguments have been flung across the Floor that it is not retrospective in the legal sense but that it is retrospective in the commonsense way in which we non-learned Members normally communicate with one another. We are in danger of getting tied up in a morass of semantics. Surely in one sense it is retrospective in that the law will apply in future to men and women who, when they embarked on their marriages, did not know that this change would be made. However, as the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone pointed out, if there had never been provision for this type of retrospective action, there would never have been any divorce law reform. This is a strong reason why we should not rule out this proposal which the Bill envisages simply because there is an element of retrospection involved. If we were to do that, we might create a precedent for any future reform, and I would be apprehensive about that.

We must consider the background against which we are debating this important Measure of social reform. We are all deeply concerned about any threat to the institution of marriage, but it is not good enough to say that marriage is all that it should be. At a time when one baby out of every eight is born illegitimate, something must be wrong, particularly as there is at least some evidence to show that part of the problem is bound up with the difficulties that are caused among couples who have been separated, possibly for decades, but who have found partners with whom to establish a cohabiting relationship.

When people talk about injustice to the so-called innocent spouse they should not confuse the argument by misrepresenting the institution of marriage. Listening to some speeches, I have gained the impression that marriage is seen as an irrevocable contract. Those who say that it would be wrong in any circumstances to impose on anybody a situation in which a marriage which he or she regarded as irrevocable could be terminated should recall that for over a hundred years marriage has not been an irrevocable institution.

The matrimonial offence has been a basis on which the courts have been able to consider whether or not a marriage should be terminated. Throughout our modern industrial history it has been known that a marriage could be terminated if certain things had deteriorated to the point that the courts could dissolve it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am having difficulty relating the hon. Members' remarks to the Amendment.

Mr. Brooks

Listening to the hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) one would imagine that a woman who may have been separated from her husband for perhaps 40 years was having something sacred destroyed in that, it is claimed, she had entered her marriage in the belief that it was irrevocable. As I have shown, marriage has not been an irrevocable institution in this country in modern times. We are now altering the conditions on which it can be deemed revocable.

We are, in discussing the Amendment, considering the most controversial and difficult part of the Bill. It is a question of balancing—it is by no means a clear-cut choice—the difficulties and even the evils. On balance, we must recognise that a marriage can break down irretrievably, and this should be reflected in our divorce law, irrespective of the date of the marriage.

Mr. Peter M. Jackson

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House proceeded to a Division

Mr. Simon Mahon

(seated and covered): Is it in order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for an hon. Member who pays little regard to the conduct of the debate and who from time to time successfully comes into the House—always the same person—to move the Closure? It is always accepted and has been accepted on every occasion the first time it has been put to the Chair. Some of us take the strongest possible objection to this from a person who has shown no interest in the debate from one week to another.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

There is nothing out of order as far as the House is concerned.

Dame Irene Ward

(seated and covered): Further to that point of order. I want to know whether the same regulation applies to your discretion in receiving the request for the Closure. Is it your discretion, or do you have to accept it whenever you are asked?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I must take account of all the circumstances in relation to the Standing Order.

Dame Irene Ward

(seated and covered): Perhaps you will take account of what has just been said.

The House having divided: Ayes 131, Noes 37.

Division No. 255.] AYES [3.16 a.m.
Abse, Leo Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Newens, Stan
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Norwood, Christopher
Archer, Peter Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Oakes, Gordon
Ashley, Jack Hamling, William Ogden, Eric
Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Oram, Albert E.
Astor, John Haseldine, Norman Orbach, Maurice
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Hobden, Dennis Orme, Stanley
Awdry, Daniel Hooley, Frank Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Barnes, Michael Hooson, Emlyn Paget, R. T.
Barnett, Joel Hornby, Richard Parker, John (Dagenham)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Horner, John Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Bidwell, Sydney Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Rees, Merlyn
Blenkinsop, Arthur Howie, W. Richard, Ivor
Booth, Albert Huckfield, Leslie Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Boston, Terence Hunt, John Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Brooks, Edwin Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Rowlands, E.
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.) Ryan, John
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Sheldon, Robert
Cant, R. B. Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Channon, H. P. G. Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)
Concannon, J. D. Judd, Frank Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Crawshaw, Richard Kenyon, Clifford Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Dalyell, Tam Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Silverman, Julius
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Sinclair, Sir George
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Lestor, Miss Joan Skeffington, Arthur
Dewar, Donald Lipton, Marcus Small, William
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Loughlin, Charles Spriggs, Leslie
Dickens, James Luard, Evan Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Dobson, Ray Lubbock, Eric Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Dunnett, Jack Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Tapsell, Peter
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) MacDermot, Niall Taverne, Dick
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Macdonald, A. H. Tinn, James
Ellis, John Mackie, John Varley, Eric G.
Emery, Peter Maclennan, Robert Vickers, Dame Joan
English, Michael Marks, Kenneth Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Ennals, David Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Watkins, David (Consett)
Fernyhough, E. Mayhew, Christopher Whitaker, Ben
Fisher, Nigel Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mendelson, John Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich) Mikardo, Ian Winnick, David
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Millan, Bruce
Forrester, John Molloy, William TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Freeson, Reginald Morris, John (Aberavon) Mr. Christopher Price and
Garrett, W. E. Murray, Albert Mr. Peter M. Jackson.
Alldritt, Walter Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Percival, Ian
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Harvie Anderson, Miss Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Black, Sir Cyril Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Body, Richard Hiley, Joseph Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hill, J. E. B. Waddington, David
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Kerby, Capt. Henry Ward, Dame Irene
Clegg, Walter Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Delargy, Hugh Knight, Mrs. Jill Woof, Robert
Farr, John Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Wright, Esmond
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Longden, Gilbert
Gibson-Watt, David McAdden, Sir Stephen TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Goodhew, Victor Maddan, Martin Mr. Biggs-Davison and
Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Mr. Simon Mahon.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Maude, Angus

Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 30, Noes 130.

Division No. 256.] AYES [3.24 a.m.
Alldritt, Walter Hiley, Joseph Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Black, Sir Cyril Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Waddington, David
Body, Richard Jones, Dan (Burnley) Ward, Dame Irene
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Kerby, Capt. Henry Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Woof, Robert
Delargy, Hugh Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Wright, Esmond
Farr, John Longden, Gilbert
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) McAdden, Sir Stephen TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gibson-Watt, David Maddan, Martin Mr. John Biggs-Davison and
Goodhew, Victor Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Mr. Simon Mahon.
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Maude, Angus
Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Abse, Leo Garrett, W. E. Morris, John (Aberavon)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Murray, Albert
Archer, Peter Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Newens, Stan
Ashley, Jack Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Norwood, Christopher
Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw) Hamling, William Oakes, Gordon
Astor, John Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Ogden, Eric
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Haseldine, Norman Oram, Albert E.
Awdry, Daniel Hobden, Dennis Orbach, Maurice
Barnes, Michael Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Orme, Stanley
Barnett, Joel Hooley, Frank Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Hooson, Emlyn Parker, John (Dagenham)
Bidwell, Sydney Hornby, Richard Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Horner, John Rees, Merlyn
Booth, Albert Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Richard, Ivor
Boston, Terence Howie, W. Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Huckfield, Leslie Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Brooks, Edwin Hunt, John Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Rowlands, E.
Buck, Antony (Colchester) Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Ryan, John
Cant, R. B. Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.) Sheldon, Robert
Channon, H. P. G. Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Clegg, Walter Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)
Concannon, J. D. Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Crawshaw, Richard Judd, Frank Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Dalyell, Tam Kenyon, Clifford Silverman, Julius
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Silvester, Frederick
Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford) Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Sinclair, Sir George
Dewar, Donald Skeffington, Arthur
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Lestor, Miss Joan Spriggs, Leslie
Dickens, James Lipton, Marcus Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Dobson, Ray Loughlin, Charles Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Dunnett, Jack Luard, Evan Tapsell, Peter
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Lubbock, Eric Taverne, Dick
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Tinn, James
Ellis, John MacDermot, Niall Varley, Eric G.
Emery, Peter Macdonald, A. H. Vickers, Dame Joan
English, Michael Mackie, John Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Ennals, David Maclennan, Robert Watkins, David (Consett)
Fernyhough, E. Marks, Kenneth Whitaker, Ben
Fisher, Nigel Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mayhew, Christopher Winnick, David
Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich) Mendelson, John
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mikardo, Ian TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Forrester, John Millan, Bruce Mr. Peter M. Jackson and
Freeson, Reginald Molloy, William Mr. Christopher Price.
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